Australia captain Hugh Weibgen was all praise for his fast-bowling quartet of Callum Vidler, Charlie Anderson, Tom Straker and Mahli Beardman after their Under-19 World Cup win in Benoni as he backed them to “go a long way” in their respective careers.
“With a pace attack like ours there’s a fair bit of confidence when we get 250 on the board,” Weibgen said at the presentation. “That was our plan [at the toss] to get a few runs and back ourselves to defend it. As a unit, they worked so good together. They know their roles and are happy to bowl either ends. They are all for the team. I would be surprised if all of them don’t go a very long way in their careers.”
Middle-order batter Harjas Singh had a lean patch heading into the final, with only 49 runs across six matches. But Australia persisted with him in the side and he responded with a crucial 55 at No. 4.
“He [Harjas] is a quality player,” Weibgen said. “Class is permanent, form is temporary. Full credit to the coaches for sticking with him, putting the faith in. All the boys knew he could get the runs. It was awesome to see him score runs today.”
How Dennis Lillee helped Beardman with mental prep
Beardman, who picked up ten wickets in the competition including 3 for 15 in the final that pegged India back, said the win felt “surreal” and also spoke about former Australia fast bowler Dennis Lillee’s influence on his game.
“[It feels] pretty surreal to be honest and hasn’t fully set in yet,” Beardman said after he was named the Player of the Match. “It has been something we have been working on for a long, long time. All that hard work has paid off. India have been incredible this tournament, so we knew there was always going to be a good battle.”
Mahli Beardman was named the Player of the Match for his three wickets•ICC/Getty Images
Beardman, who has been coached by Lillee, was brought on as second change in the match and struck immediately, removing the prolific Musheer Khan. He then went on to dismiss Uday Saharan, India’s captain and leading run-getter of the competition, and then bounced out the set Adarsh Singh, who had scored 47, to kill the chase.
“From DK [Lillee] I learnt a lot of mental stuff and tried to implement that as much as I can this tournament. He got me thinking about my bowling instead of just bowling, thinking about my field setting and then from there working on mental things – little cues like going head, and then going toes next ball. Stupid stuff like that.
“[The win] means so much. The amount of work we have put in over the last year and a bit, prior to the England series as well, this has been on the forefront of our minds. Standing alongside Cal [Vidler] and the rest of the cartel is a dream come true. Our strong suit has been how close we are as a group, and it is not just performance-based but off the field as well. We get along really well as mates and that chemistry helps.”
Beardman lauded his team-mate Vilder, who has led the pack for Australia with 14 wickets – joint third-most in this Under-19 World Cup – with Straker close on his heels with 12.
“[Vidler] has been incredible,” Beardman said. “It was a pleasure to bowl alongside him. He was awesome in England, he’s been crazy here as well. He is super talented. It was a pleasure to bowl alongside him and the rest of the cartel. Future goals will be Big Bash [League] and play for my state.”
Straker, who picked up the final wicket to kick off the celebrations, said, “[It is a] great feeling. We have worked all year for this. We have been to Brisbane and England, all for this moment and it has finally come. We are all good mates. We all love to play with each other and we love four quicks playing.”
S Sudarshanan is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Sudarshanan7